The United States is not as independent as people
think. We must import most of our raw materials.
Actually, we import no fewer than 77 resources to
maintain our present economy. As an example, we
import 85 percent of the manganese we need to make
steel. We use columbite to make nuclear reactors,
stainless steel, rockets, and missiles; we import 90
percent of it. We also import bauxite (used to refine
aluminum) and chromite (used to strengthen steel).
More than 90 percent of the tin we need in this country
we import. At one time, the U.S. consumed more than
one-third of the entire worlds supply of oil. However,
through conservation efforts we have reduced that oil
consumption. Half of the free-world mineral production
goes into the industrial needs of the United States. Of all
our needed minerals, only about 11 are found within our
borders; the U.S. is a raw-material-deficient nation. The
United States could not possibly produce enough
aircraft to move all the goods that now travel by water.
Our economy depends on waterborne commerce.
The United States, like all nations of the world,
acknowledges freedom of the seas under international
law. When fighting wars, nations do whatever is in their
power to prevent the enemy from using the seas. They
aim to cut commercial shipping lanes to prevent the
enemy from receiving critical raw materials for the war
effort. Throughout history, the great nations have been
those which controlled the seas. From the ancient times
of Persia to the World War II days of Japan, loss of sea
power has caused many nations to fail.
Before World War I, we were a quiet nation and
stayed mostly to ourselves. When we were drawn into
World War I, we became the most industrialized nation
in the world. Our economy slowed down after the war;
when World War II started, we once more became
highly industrialized. We have remained that way ever
since. Our defense depends on a highly productive
industrial system. We must keep the sea-lanes open so
that the supply of essential raw material continues to
flow in our direction. Halting the flow would be a great
blow to the safety and economy of the United States. In
the wars of this nation, we have managed to maintain a
constant supply of raw materials. But, to keep our troops
supplied, we have had to ship over 97 percent of our
You should realize the importance of the United
States ability to maintain control of the seas for the use
of the free world. To protect our national security and
sustain our economy, our nation must continue to take
the following actions:
Import raw materials from throughout the world,
convert them into manufactured goods, and
export them to the world marketplaces by ocean
Keep the sea-lanes open and secure in times of
peace and tension, and deny them to the enemy in
times of war.
Many areas of sea power are covered in the
remainder of this chapter. Keep in mind that no matter
where your station is, your job plays an important role in
our nations sea power. Your job helps keep us all free
REVIEW 1 QUESTIONS
Q1. What is sea power?
Q2. List the principal operational components of our
nations sea power.
Q3. According to Alfred Mahan, there are six
conditions required for a nation to have sea
power. List these conditions.